Can a limp possibly be contagious?
The golf world has marveled the past two years at how the on-course mannerisms of Charlie Woods mimic his famous father.
This past weekend, Charlie even had the limp down pat.
That wasn’t part of the Team Woods plan for the PNC Championship.
At “The Match” two weekends ago, Tiger said he hope to saddle up Charlie and ride him to victory at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club. Well that plan went awry even before the first tee shot was hit.
On Friday, 13-year-old Charlie was limping badly during the pro-am action. Seriously? Evidently the younger Woods sprained his ankle on the range at some unspecified time.
How does a 13-year-old sprain his ankle hitting golf balls? We checked our memory banks and couldn’t find such a thing. Youth football? Sure. Little League baseball? Maybe. Soccer? Perhaps. But hitting golf balls? Never — at least until now.
Sure Tiger had the golf cart to get him around the Ritz Carlton Golf Club in chilly Orlando. And by Sunday, Charlie was seated next to him — Team Woods disabled.
Tiger showed his short game skills on Saturday and basically lugged Charlie around the course. A 13-under par 59 kept them in touch with first round leading Team Thomas — their playing partners.
Tiger and his cub were tied for second with Vijay and Cass Singh. The Singhs posted their 59 first and should have been in that final pairing with Justin Thomas and his dad, Mike. But the powers at NBC sensed that a Team Woods-Team Thomas shootout would be great for the ratings — sending Team Veej out with the Langers.
It was a red-shirt Sunday for Tiger and Charlie — but there would be no magic whatsoever. They made some early noise — four under through five holes — but that would be the extent of it. Both looked tired and as a result, they could only manage to play the final 13 holes three-under par.
These two days perhaps gave a preview of 2023 for Tiger Woods.
His goal, as he has said is to “play in the four majors and maybe two others.” That would be six events at best. But first, he’s got some serious work to do. He cannot walk 18 holes, much less 72.
He headed back to his Fortress Of Solitude on Jupiter Island late Sunday, a quick flight on Air Tiger, the jet doesn’t even make cruising speed over that distance.
Tiger didn’t show much at “The Match” but he did have his moments at the PNC — and therein lies the problem — they are simply moments. Sure there were Tiger highlights — he flashed that old short game brilliance at times. Justin Thomas talked about how long Tiger was hitting his tee shots.
“I wasn’t joking yesterday when I said it: When he’s feeling well, he’s longer than I am with a driver,” J.T. said. “But I’m sure he would trade 10 yards to be able to walk every day and feeling well. But yeah, it’s very impressive. You can tell, he’s very, very strong, very fit right now. It’s just dealing with the other issues.”
Yes, about those “issues.”
Tiger turns 47 on December 30. He’ll have about 90 days to get his body where he can make it around Augusta National — the toughest walk of all the major championships.
You look at him now and shake your head.
You look at Charlie and shake your head. He and dad looked like members of The Legion Of The Limp.
And limping your way around the course isn’t a good look for a 13-year-old.
And it wasn’t a great look for a certain 46-year-old last season.
If that limp sticks around, then 2023 might be more of the same for Tiger.